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Minnesota Vikings 2017 NFL Draft Recap

Hello purple people eaters,

The Minnesota Vikings started the 2016 season 5-0 looking poised for a deep playoff run. After the bye in week six, the team didn’t quite look as ‘dominate’ as they did prior to the bye week. The team went 3-8 in their final eleven games to finish 8-8. Injuries and lack of enthusiasm were a big part of losing collapse for the Vikings. The 2017 season brings a new year to improve upon and the Vikings will look to get off to another good start then sustain the winning magic. Let’s jump aboard the ship and blow the horns for these rookies while we unveil the potential treasures they carry inside.

-2nd Round, Pick #41: Dalvin Cook – Running Back (Florida State)

  • The Minnesota Vikings did not have a first round pick this season due to the trade for Sam Bradford. Although they did not have a pick in the first round, the Vikings should be happy a stud running back with first round talent fell for them to trade up within the second to acquire. Dalvin Cook should relief some of the pain fans are enduring after long time star runner Adrian Peterson departed in free agency. The Vikings brought in Latavius Murray, but he doesn’t have that stardom ‘it factor’ that Cook and Peterson possess. I’m sure during the off-season Murray was intended to be the starter for the season, but I’m sure the Vikings wouldn’t have imagined Cook dropping into striking distance. Cook is getting brilliant reviews for his performances in practice has a better handle on the playbook; not to mention Murray is coming off an off-season ankle surgery. Dalvin Cook has a pretty lengthy injury history himself, but fact is while Murray has been in trainer’s room recovery, Cook has impressed his teammates and more importantly, his coaches. Despite the talent of Cook and what he brings to the table, his injury list is worrisome and if he couldn’t complete a full college season, how is he going to play a NFL season start to finish. I like the selection for the Vikings, but if I were in charge I would get a good rotation between Cook and Murray to keep both players healthy and available for the long season.

-3rd Round, Pick #70: Pat Elfein – Center (Ohio State)

  • Pat Elfein was a victim of the “poor” offensive linemen class. This draft class had some good linemen prospects, but didn’t exactly impress scouts enough to push them into ‘elite’ offensive line draft prospect territory. This ultimately spread a shock-wave throughout the offensive lineman class and dropped their value. Pat Elfein was arguably the best center in this class and he fell all the way down to the third round. I’m sure the Vikings aren’t complaining though. Elfein has the talent to earn his way into a starting job and give the Vikings a solid option on the offensive line for years to come. The Viking’s offensive line looked inconsistent at times during the 2016 season and they made it a point during the off-season free agency and the draft to fix the holes and bring in guys to protect Sam Bradford. So far the Vikings have drafted to starting caliber players that could be huge impacts come week one.

-4th Round, Pick #109: Jaleel Johnson – Defensive Tackle (Iowa)

  • The Minnesota Vikings defense is stout and doesn’t have many holes to fill, but they’re doing the right thing by bringing in depth and good players to continue building up the defense. Jaleel Johnson’s niche is being a run stuffer and won’t be asked to do much outside of stopping the run, but he’ll be a good player in the rotational role. Johnson won’t get much pass rush opportunities, but he does generate good penetration up the middle to bend the pocket in favor of the defense. Good depth selection that’ll make an impact right away.

-4th Round, Pick #120: Ben Gedeon – Inside Linebacker (Michigan)

  • Eric Kendrick’s is cemented at the middle linebackers’ position and no one is going to compete with him for the starting job. Ben Gedeon will compete for a depth spot and special teams and a chance at being the back-up middle linebacker. Gedeon will need some coaching up though. Gedeon had 13 missed tackles a year ago and that won’t sit well with head coach Mike Zimmer. He’s a good worker that doesn’t do anything to flashy, but does what he needs to in order to keep a roster spot. He’ll probably not see much playing time on defense this upcoming season, but I would expect him to be a contributor on special teams until he earns his stripes on defense.

-5th Round, Pick #170: Rodney Adams – Wide Receiver (South Florida)

  • Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen are the current starters and both had a pretty good season a year ago. Last year’s first round pick Laquon Treadwell didn’t have the year many anticipated, but I’m sure the Vikings won’t be quick to give up on him yet. Then veteran Jarius Wright round out what appears to be the top four receivers on the roster. Everyone else is unproven or for some have off-field issues, Michael Floyd for example. Rodney has a fighting chance to play his way into that fifth or potential sixth receiver spot with a string of good performances. There is a lot of competition and not much time to prove his worth, so he needs to impress early and often in order to make this final roster. His best shot will be on special teams where he is currently battling for the starting returner job.

-5th Round, Pick #180: Danny Isidora – Offensive Guard (Miami-FL)

  • The Vikings need help at offensive guard. Last year’s starting center Joe Berger has been kicked out to guard for this upcoming year so they can optimize and put the best five offensive linemen on the field at all times. Depending on how things pan out for the starting line up along the line. Danny Isidora brings great depth and a three year starter in college. Isidora has the image of an NFL guard and is quick off the block and has no issue breaking off to move up into the second level of the defense. For a team that had inconsistent offensive line play a season ago, they’ve drafted two potential players to at least be in the rotation on the offensive line and that bodes well for Sam Bradford.

-6th Round, Pick #201: Bucky Hodges – Tight End (Virginia Tech)

  • Kyle Rudolph is the obvious clear-cut starter, no one is doubting him nor his play for once; however, the Vikings don’t have any notable players behind him on the roster. Bucky Hodges was a great player at Virginia Tech and was one of the few play-makers on a weekly basis. Hodges is raw at the position seeing as he is a transitioned quarterback, but he brings good upside and a developmental prospect to mold into the offensive scheme. He’s a big tight end standing at 6’6″ with good speed clocking a 4.57 dash. Hodges may not do anything of importance in the near future, but I believe this was an underrated selection that has the potential to pay off in more than one way.

-7th Round, Pick #219: Stacy Coley – Wide Receiver (Miami-FL)

  • Similar to fellow teammate draftee Rodney Adams, Stacy Coley has a hill to climb in order to make the final roster. Coley is a speed guy that can help stretch the field, but he doesn’t seem to fit the Minnesota Vikings offensive scheme. The Vikings like to run the ball and build off that with a good play action. Coley might have a slight chance, but I don’t see this being an ideal fit. He’ll most likely get cut, but the Vikings could keep him around on the practice squad to develop him more.

-7th Round, Pick #220: Ifeadi Odenigbo – Defensive Line (Northwestern)

  • Listed as a defensive linemen, but he’s better suited in the defensive end or pass rusher role. Odenigbo can generate pressure on the defensive line. He flourished at the collegiate level simply by being bigger, stronger and faster than most of his opponents, but at the next level of competition it’s hard to be bigger, stronger and faster than the stiff competition on a weekly basis. He has potential, but will need to work on his technique if he wants to amount to anything at the next level. I believe Ifeadi Odenigbo can make the final roster because the Vikings don’t have as much pass rushing depth as one might think, but he’ll need to step up and fine tune his skill set to make a difference.

-7th Round, Pick #232: Elijah Lee – Linebacker (Kansas State)

  • If you could find a hole on this defense, it would be on the weak side of the linebacker core. Current starter Emmanuel Lamur is entering his second year with the team and didn’t do much last year to impress. In my opinion, the starting job is up for grabs and won’t be decided until late in the pre-season. Fortunately for Lamur he gets the first shot and if he shows any sign of progression from last year he’ll probably win the gig. Elijah Lee won’t let him take it easily though. Lee has good speed for a linebacker and can do all the things you would want from your second level. He can drop back into coverage, attack the line of scrimmage and jump out into the flats and get the quick screen pass. Watch out for this prospect as he could be a sleeper to make his way up the ranks on this team.

-7th Round, Pick #245: Jack Tocho – Cornerback (North Carolina State)

  • Listed as cornerback, but the Vikings coaching staff want to switch him over to a safety to add depth and competition at the back end of their defense. Tocho is knocked by his lack-luster speed, which is another reason he was transitioned to a safety, but he has good lock-down coverage and is a big physical bump and run guy. Seventh round or not, I like this selection and he could make a real impact for this team. It might take some time to develop and transfer his play at the new position, but he’ll make the switch and learn how to play it at a good enough level to make this team this year.

The Minnesota Vikings have the talent to re-try another successful season and keep the momentum going this time around. Sam Bradford played at a higher level than most expected and should have a better run game with the Dalvin Cook-Latavius Murray combo. The division surrounding them in the NFC North got better and it’ll be a fight until the very end. However, the Vikings have a top notch defense that’ll keep them in games until their efficient offense is ready to strike. Don’t sleep on the Vikings this year; they’re coming to take the NFC North title that was supposed to be theirs a season ago. Until next time, have a great day!

-Austin Thomas

 

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